James Talboys Wheeler.

Early records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio online

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Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 29 of 33)
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The experience of years has convinced us that a division of
power is impossible without generating discontent and hazard-
ing the whole : all must belong either to the Company or to

' GG2,500/ at the curri'iit rsite of exclmuge.


tlie Nawab. We leave you to judge which alternative is the
most desirable aud the most expedient in the present circum-
stances of affairs. As to ourselves, we know of no other
system we could adopt, that would less affect the Nawab's
dignity, and at the same time secure the Com))any against
the fatal effects of future revolutions than this of the Dewanny.
The power is now lodged where it can only be lodged with
safety to us, so that we may pronounce with some degree of
confidence, that the worst which will happen in future to the
Company will proceed from temporary ravages only, which
can never become so general as to prevent your revenues from
yielding a sufficient fund to defray your civil and military
charges, and furnish yonr investments/'

" The more we reflect on the situation of your affairs, the seit-prescrvation
stronger appear the reasons for accepting the Dewanny of
these provinces, by which alone we could establish a power
sufficient to perpetuate the possessions we hold, aud tlie influ-
ence we enjoy. While the Nawab acted in quality of Col-
lector for the Mogul, the means of supporting our military
estabhshment depended upon his pleasure. In the most cri-
tical situations, while we stood balancing on the extreme
border of destruction, his stipulated payments were slow and
deficient, his revenues withheld by disaffected Rajahs, and
turbulent Zemindars, who despised the weakness of his gov-
ernment ; or they were squandered in profusion, and dissipated
in corruption, the never-failing symptoms of a declining con-
stitution and feeble administration. Hence we were fre-
quently disappointed of those supplies, upon the punctual
receipt of which depended the very existence of the Company
in Bengal.''^

The letter from the Court of Directors approving? Approval ot the
of tliis arrangement is very valuable. It lays clo^^^l ^''^«'^""^«-
with much precision what were to be the relations
between the Xawab Nazim and the English Presi-
dent and Council. It shows that at this j^eriod
there were strong objections to any interference in



the native administration. An English Resident
was continued at Murshedabad; he was to take
over the monthly payments from the Nawab's
officers ; his chief duty was to protect the native
administration from the encroachments of the Com-
pany's servants. The following extracts are
historical' : —

SeutinieiiiB. ''We come now to consider the great and important

affair of the Dewanny, on which we shall give you our
sentiments, with every objection that occurs to us.

Danger of the " When WO Consider that the barrier of the country


government was entirely broke down, and every Englishman
throughout the country armed with an authority that owned
no superior, and exercising his power to the oppression of
the helpless native, who knew not whom to obey ; at such a
crisis, we cannot hesitate to approve your obtaining the
Dewanny for the Company.^'
Definition of the " We obscrve the account you ^ive of the office and power

oflBce and power _ j a i

of King's of the King^s Dewan, which in former times was ' the

collecting of all the revenues, and, after defraying the ex-
penses of the army, and allowing a sufficient fund for the
support of the Nizamat, to remit the remainder to Delhi.'
This description of it, is not the office we wish to execute ;
the experience we already have had in the province of
Burdwan convinces us, how unfit an Englishman is to con-
duct the collection of the revenues, and follow the subtle
native through all his arts, to conceal the real value of his
country, and to perplex and elude the payments. We there-
fore entirely approve of your preserving the ancient form of
government, in the upholding the dignity of the Subah.

Limitations of " We conccive the office of Dewan should be exercised

the authority . . ii • i t

exercised by the Only in superintendinof the collections, and disposal or the

Company. . .

revenues; which, though vested in the Company, should
officially be executed by our Resident at the Durbar, under

1 Despatch from tie Directors to the Select Committee, dated I7th May


the control of tlie Governor and the Select Committee.
The ordinary bounds of which control, should extend to
Dothiugf beyond the superintending- the collection of the
revenues, and the receiving the money from the Nawal/s
treasury to that of the Dewanny, or the Company, and this
we conceive to be neither difficult nor complicated : for at the
annual Poonah the government settles with each Zemindar
his monthly payments for the ensuing year ; so the monthly
payments of the whole from the Nawab^s Dewan, is but the
total of the monthly payment of each Zemindar ; which must
be strictly kept up, and if deficient, the Company must trace
what particular province. Rajah, or Zemindar, has falleu short
of his monthly payments ; or, if it is necessary to extend the
power farther, let the annual Poonah, by which we mean the
time when every landholder makes his agreement for the
ensuing year, be made with the consent of the Dewan or
Company. This we conceive to be the whole office of the
Dewauny. The administration of justice, the appointment
of officers. Zemindar ries, — in short, whatever comes under the
denomination of civil administration, — we understand is to
remain in the hands of the Nawab or his ministers.

" The Resident at the Durbar being constantly on the
spot, cannot be long a stranger to any abuses in the govern-
ment, and is always armed with power to remedy them. It
will be his duty to stand between the administration and the
encroachments always to be apprehended from the agents of
the Company's servants, which must first be known to him ;
and we rely on his fidelity to the Company, to check ail such
encroachments, and to prevent the oppression of the natives."

The Nawab Nazim died in May 1766. The event Death of the

. , Nawab Naziiu.

was reported home by the Select Committee m the
following terms. They show that the Nawab Nazim
was akeady of no moment in the administration : —

"We are sorry to acquaint you, that on the 8th day Report of the
of May, his excellency the Nawab Nudjuni al daulal breathed mitTee. °'^"



Priyatc trade.

Mutiny of the
Civil Servants.

his last, after a short ilhiess, incurred by some intemperance
in eating", and increased by a gross habit, and unsound con-
stitution. As he was a prince of mean capacity, bred up in
total ignorance of public affairs, this event, which formerly
might have produced important consequences in the provinces,
can at present have no other effect than that of exhibiting to
the eyes of the people a mere change of persons in the
Nizamut. Nudjum al daulah dying without issue, his
brother Syef al daula succeeded to his dignities; and pro-
mises, from the mildness and pliancy of his disposition, to
answer all the purposes of a Nawab to the people and to the
Company. At present he is a youth not exceeding the age
of sixteen, which more immediately and naturally brings the
administration into the hands of persons in whom we can
repose confidences''^

The minor details of Lord dive's second admin-
istration have lost their interest. He did not put
a stop to the private trade ; and it was only stopped
in after years by a general increase of salaries.

Lord Clive had to encounter a curious mutiny
amongst the civil servants. The massacre at Patna
had carried off many of the seniors. Many juniors
were appointed to posts for which they were unfit.
The Secretary's department was made over to a
youth of only three years' standing. The post of
Paymaster to the Army was held by another young
writer, whilst three hundred thousand pounds
sterling lay in his hands for months. The business
of these offices was really transacted by natives ;

' As the Nawab Nazirn had been reduced to the position of a pageant
the necessity for maintaining an expensive state ceremonial gradually died
out. Accordingly, on the accession of the new Nawab Nazim, the yearly
allowances were reduced from fifty-three lakhs to forty-one lakhs ; in 1770
they were reduced to thirty -one lakhs; and in 1772 to sixteen lakhs. Since
1772 there has been no further reduction.


the most secret concerns were known in the hazar ;
and serious ahuses prevailed in all directions.

Lord Clive called ui) foiu* civilians from the '''>t;=i'ie" from

i- Madras.

Madras establishment and gave them vacant seats
in the Bengal Council. The results of this mea-
sure may be given in what appears to be Lord
Clive's own words' : —

" We are sorry to find that our endeavours to serve the opposition of

^ . ^1 1 i • • • i. 4. Ui^'ugal Civiliautf.

Company in a manner the least injurious to your servants
here, should be misconstrued. As soon as this measure be-
came known, by reports from Madras, and previous to our
laying any proceeding's before the Board, the young gentle-
men of the settlement had set themselves up for judges of
the propriety of our conduct, and the degree of their own
merit: each would think himself qualified to transact your
weighty affairs in Council, at an age when the laws of his
country adjudge him unfit to manage his own concerns to the
extent of forty shillings. They have not only set their hands
to the memorial of complaint, but entered into associations
unbecoming at their years, and destructive of that sul)ordi-
nation without which no government can stand — All visits
to the President are forbidden — All invitations fr om him and
the members of the Select Committee are to be slighted —
The gentlemen called down by our authority from Madras
are to be treated with neglect and contempt — Every man
who deviates from this confederacy is to be stigmatised and
avoided — In a word, the members are totally to separate
themselves from the head, decorum and union are to be set
at defiance, and it becomes a fair struggle whether we or the
young gentlemen shall in future guide the helm of govern-
ment. Look at their names, examine their standing, inquire
into their services, and reflect upon the age of four-fifths of the
subscribers to this bill of grievances, who now support the
association, and you will be equally surprised with us at the

* Despatch from Sck-ct Comiuitteo, dated 31st Jauuary 17

Online LibraryJames Talboys WheelerEarly records of British India; a history of the English settlements in India, as told in the government records, the works of old travellers, and other contemporary documents, from the earliest perio → online text (page 29 of 33)